Review: Inov-8 Ultra 290 & X-Talon 212

08 Aug Review: Inov-8 Ultra 290 & X-Talon 212

Inov-8 Ultra Trail 290

I finally get the chance to put my feet into some Inov-8 running shoes and the results are mixed. I have heard from MANY people that Inov-8 shoes are their favorite kicks for all sorts of running. From long road runs to crazy off-trail backcountry running to OCR races. Well, luckily for me, Inov-8 reached out and offered to let me review a few pairs, including these, the brand new Inov-8 Ultra Trail 290!

Let me start by saying I had some preconceived notions as to how this show would feel based on an early video inov8 released on their youtube channel. I was expecting a comfortable grippy shoe perfect for ultramarathons and super long distances. What I got was almost anything but. However, I kept my open mind and logged the miles in the shoe hoping it would finally dawn on me what I was missing. While the shoe did take more than 30 miles to “break-in”, I never fully got the ride I was hoping for.

While the shoe has tons of protection (both outsole and upper alike), tons of grip, and some nice details, it lacks the comfortable EVA cushion, the flexibility, the lightness and breathable upper I have come to expect in shoes meant to go the distance.

I do have friends that have worn this shoe for ultras even up to 100 miles and love it, but for some reason, it really wasn’t my bag. What about you? Have you run in the Inov8 Ultra Trail 290 & what do you think of the shoe?

LIKED:

  • Protection
  • Grip
  • Durable Outsole
  • Built-In Gator attachment

DISLIKED:

  • Dense EVA
  • Full Outsole (flexibility, flat)
  • Heavy (10.6oz – 290g)
  • Hot, thick upper

QUALITY: 3/5
COMFORT: 3/5
PRICE: 3/5 ($130)
LOOKS: 3/5

TOTAL: 12/20

These shoes were provided by Inov-8 for review. All opinions are my own.

 

Inov-8 X-Talon 212

I finally get the chance to put my feet into some Inov-8 running shoes and the results are mixed. I have heard from MANY people that Inov-8 shoes are their favorite kicks for all sorts of running. From long road runs to crazy off-trail backcountry running to OCR races. Well, luckily for me, Inov-8 reached out and offered to let me review a few pairs, including these, the X-Talon 212 – one of Inov-8’s best selling trail shoes!

This shoe is a beast. It’s definitely geared for those runs that are going to take you in rough conditions. In fact, Inov-8 considers this shoe an “Off-Trail” runner. I’d consider this a shoe for weather, mud, crazy rock or scree, or OCR racing (tough mudder, spartan racing, etc). I defintely wouldn’t consider this shoe a long-distance trail shoe (unless you’re into the minimal, lugged out canvas & leather racer).

While the outsole is super rugged and durable, the upper is thick, hot and non-compliant. The materials they use are obviously meant to be durable, but boy they drove me a little nuts on some of my hotter runs. Also know that this shoe is designed to be narrower throughout. They call it a “race fit”, I call it a “climbing shoe” fit. The whole last seems to bend more towards the big toe which is a classic climbing shoe move. It’s to provide a more tactile feel on the rock wall. Here, I’m assuming it’s to provide a more tactile feel on the obstacle wall.

While it’s not my everyday cup of tea, I understand why this shoe exists and why some of you just love it. What do you think of the X-Talon 212? Let me know in the comments below!

LIKED:

  • Flexible
  • Light (7.5oz)
  • Grip
  • Durable
DISLIKED:
  • Narrow fit (race cut? climbing shape?)
  • Upper Materials (thick leather/canvas, hot)
  • Terrain Specific (not a total fault)
  • Sizing (1/2 size up)

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 3/5
PRICE: 4/5 ($100-120)
LOOKS: 4/5

TOTAL: 15/20

These shoes were provided by Inov-8 for review. All opinions are my own.

The Ginger
alex@cheekymonkeymedia.ca
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